The Mail on Sunday - Event - - MUSIC - Tim de Lisle

Sam Smith The Thrill Of It All Capi­tol, out now

You know you’ve made it in mu­sic when your al­bum is re­leased in Novem­ber. High hopes are pinned on Sam Smith’s fol­lowup to In The Lonely Hour, which sold mil­lion copies. Deeply sen­si­tive and widely pop­u­lar, he is the male answer to Adele.

Af­ter hit­ting the jack­pot, it’s all too easy to make a dif­fi­cult second al­bum. Smith, who’s , has said that he found it hard ad­just­ing to fame, but it doesn’t show here. There are no iden­tity crises, no panic moves, no guest spots for Justin Bieber. Smith just car­ries on what he does best: emot­ing. He has such a pres­ence at the mi­cro­phone – in­ti­mate, tremu­lous, lachry­mose – that it hardly mat­ters what he’s singing. His nat­u­ral habi­tat is the gospeltinged bal­lad, but he could find the hid­den sor­row in Good Vi­bra­tions Vi­bra­tions. The best tracks here – Burn­ing, HIM HIM, No Peace – glow with in­ten­sity. Even with a cou­ple of Mo­town-ish chug­gers, the sad­ness still lingers. Smith calls them ‘dance-and-cry songs’. Tears are not enough, ABC once as­sured us. In this case, they’ll do nicely.

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